Individual investors have found their next short-squeeze target in little-known software companySupport.com Inc.
Shares of the company have more than tripled in the past week, pushing the stock to finish Monday at $36.39. That gives Support.com, a technical-and customer-support provider, a 38% gain for the day and a more than 1,500% jump for the year.
Some retail traders are piling into Support.com, scooping up shares and placing bullish wagers on the stock. One of the reasons why: Support.com has elevated interest from bearish investors known as short sellers. Investors on social-media platforms have recently discussed the potential for setting up a short squeeze.
Short sellers are investors who bet against a company by borrowing shares and selling them, hoping they can buy them back later at a lower price. But these short sellers can be burned by such wagers when the stock rises. They are then forced to buy back stock to try to limit their losses. Buying more stock can put further pressure on the stock price in what is known as a short squeeze.
This year, individual investors have crowded into companies with elevated levels of short-selling activity, as part of a larger strategy to reap big gains and turn upside down a market that many say has long been stacked against them. More than 20 million new retail brokerage accounts are estimated to have been created since the start of 2020, according to JMP Securities. Most notably, individual investors have tried to force short squeezes in companies including GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. this year. They have also driven higher stocks ranging from car-rental company Hertz Global Holdings Inc. to laser-scanning technology firm MicroVision Inc.
The recent run-up in Support. com shares marks a striking turnaround for the company, which started the year trading just above $2. The last time the company traded above Monday’s closing price of $36.39 was 2004. For the quarter ended June 30, the company reported total revenue of roughly $8.5 million and a net loss of nearly $800,000.
In March, Support.com announced a merger agreement with Greenidge Generation Holdings Inc., a bitcoin-mining company, in a deal that is expected to close this quarter. As part of the agreement, Support. com will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Greenidge, according to a news release issued at the time, Support.com is expected to provide Greenidge with an estimated $33 million of additional cash. Upon completion of the deal, Support.comstockholders and option holders will collectively own about 8% of the combined company’s common stock.
In mid-to-late August, short interest in Support.comhas hovered around 60% of the stock’s free float, according to analytics firm S3 Partners. In the past week, a small degree of shortcovering— or buying back shares—has occurred, data from S3 shows, with short interest declining by nearly 3 percentage points, or roughly 280,000 shares, between Monday and Friday of last week.
The volume of short-covering likely isn’t enough to move Support.com’s price much higher, said Ihor Dusaniwsky, head of predictive analytics at S3, especially given the elevated trading volume that Support. com has experienced.